Mantled Howler Monkey

Common Name: Mantled Howler monkey

Type: Mammal

Family: Atelidae

Range: Mantled Howler Monkeys have one of the widest geographical distributions of any New World primates. They are found from southern part of Mexico to northern Argentina. There are six species of howler monkey are recognized and the only one is available in Central America, one in Central and South America and the other four are available in South America. The mantled howler monkeys have the long reddish ruff of hair along the flanks of adults. This species is found throughout Central America, extending south into Colombia Including Costa Rica. The Mantled Howlers look is similar to other howler monkeys except for coloration. The Mantled Howler Monkey is mostly black except for a fringe of gold to buff hair on each side that gives it its common name.

Size: The average size of an adult male howler monkey can weigh between 20 to 27 inches; an adult female will usually be 18 to 25 inches in body length. Howlers Monkeys have a longer tail than their head and body length. Its prehensile tail is 21 to 26 inches long. Infant howlers are approximately 0.4 kg at the time of birth. When the males reach maturity, the scrotum turns white.

Weight: Howler monkeys are among the largest of the New World primates. An adult can gain a weight between 6 to 9 kg. Adult females generally weigh between 4 and 7 kg.

Diet: All howler monkey species have the same dietary and they are Omnivore. They are vegetarian, eating fruits, new leaves and flowers for most of the time during the year. But when fruits are in short supply, howlers can live for weeks or months on diets entirely of leaves.

Average life span: The average lifespan of a Howler monkey is 15-20 years.

Habitat: The Mantled Howler Monkey is native to Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama. The Mantled Howler Monkey is among the most commonly seen and heard primates in many Central American national parks, including Manuel Antonio, Corcovado National Park, Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Santa Rosa National Park. They live in the shelters of low land and mountain forest of Costa Rica.

Breeding/Reproduction: Mantled Howler females reach sexual maturity at approximately 3 years. They undergo a regular estrus cycle, with an average duration of 16 days, and they display sexual skin transformation, mainly swelling and color change of the labia minora from white to light pink. While the ovulation time is unknown, it may be guessed by the alpha male’s activities, as he copulates simply at the midpoint of sexual skin swelling. Breeding occurs all year-round. A female usually participates in multiple mating before conception. The age of sexual maturity for howler males is 42 months, but males attempting to breed in non-maternal groups may be delayed until social status is gained.

The copulatory sequence begins when a female approaches a male and begins rhythmic tongue movements while facing him. The male also responds the same tongue movements, and within few minutes, the female turns and raise her rump. Meanwhile the howler male has achieved an erection and immediately hold the female, executes 5-20 pelvic thrusts over the duration of 20-60 seconds. They then turn sideways and disengage, and generally sit quietly for several minutes before slowly walking away. Pregnancy lasts about 6 months. After reaching the infant age of 4 months, female can perform the mating again.

Mantled Howler Monkey is the common monkey of Costa Rica. They have the name of mono congo in Costa Rica. The color of all the Howlers is black. But Mantled Howlers are Reddish yellow. They have a height of 20 inches in most of the cases and have a weight of almost 9.8kg.

These monkeys prefer to live under the leaves of trees which fully cover them. They mostly live in the upper areas of the forest in Costa Rica they prefer these areas for their protection.

No monkey from Central America except Mantled Howler Monkey eats a great quantity of leaves. Leaves contain very low energy and can’t be digested easily. This is the reason that the Mantled Howlers are found sleeping most of the day.

A large hyoid bone is present in the body of male Mantled Howlers thus, they produce loud sounds. They have got their name due to this noise they produce. They have the benefit of this noise that they can be located by other Mantled Howlers without going anywhere and wasting their energy.

They have a long and strong tail that means they have three arms to use for different purposes like climbing a tree etc.

They live in groups of almost 40 members. But most of the Mantled Howlers are expelled from the group after they have grown up. Thus many of the Mantled Howlers are found alone.

They have alpha males in each group. These males are preferred for getting food and resting places. After them the preference goes to the males who have the most females. The youngest male of the group is always the alpha male. An alpha male has four years of dominance and an alpha female has just one year. In these species the males always have dominance over females.

These Costa Rica monkeys are very choosy in their eating as they have to survive on less energy. They prefer leaves with more protein. As young leaves contain more protein so they prefer to eat young leaves.

The Mantled Howlers Monkeys are very important for a rainforest. They spread seeds and help in the growth of these seeds.
Mantled Howlers can also survive deforesting as, they can live on just leaves and they don’t require much space to live. They have to spend most of their time sleeping and resting so it is not difficult for them to live in a small area.

They need about three months giving birth to a child. Most of the times a single baby is born but sometimes twins are born. There is no particular breeding season they can breed throughout the year.
The different groups of the species don’t fight with each other. They try to avoid fights as they Shave less energy so they can’t waste it on fights.

The Mantled Howlers Monkeys live up to 20 years. They are not considered endangered in Costa Rica but removing the forests too much can make them extinct.

Every species has its own importance in the ecosystem. They should be protected.

More info about the Howlers

Howler Monkeys – another article in
Wikipedia – Article on them
Howler Monkeys – another detailed article about these guys

Video of Howler Monkeys

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